Help! 😪 I can’t get any sleep because my baby keeps waking up.
Does this sound like you? Do you feel like you’re going crazy trying to fit into their sleep schedule?
If it does, you’re not alone. There are many parents who struggle with getting enough sleep because of their baby. You’ve also probably done a ton of research about baby or toddler sleep training but nothing you found aligns with your values.
You prefer a more holistic approach instead of leaving your baby to cry it out. Perhaps, you do not want to sleep train at all. You want to trust your instincts.
Guess what? 😃You’re in the right place because we’re going to focus on YOU and your sleep today. Not your baby’s or your toddler’s sleep, YOURS.
Firstly, why should you listen to me at all?
Hello, I’m Valerie :). I’m a therapist who specializes in infant and child mental health. That means babies’ and toddlers’ social, emotional, and behavioral needs including their parents and family. Not only do I specialize in their mental health, but I also specialize in their sleep. In line with your values, I focus on a holistic approach to sleep training and provide alternative solutions to the cry-it-out method.
“Valerie, I am always so tired! I can never get enough sleep. What can I do? How do I change this?”
When you come to me needing more sleep through the night, the first thing I’ll help with is figuring out how you can do so independent of your baby or toddler’s sleep.
Is this really possible?👀 Absolutely!
In order to understand the reason for your baby or toddler’s wakes, we need to get you feeling happier and better. That can only come when you are better rested. The goal is to get to the root cause of your sleep problem. So let’s get started.
How can you get more sleep RIGHT NOW?
1. Let your partner help you in the morning
Can you get your partner to help you in the morning so you can catch up on lost sleep? I know you might feel like you need to be the one to care for your baby but it is okay to accept help. It is also okay to ask for help.
What if my partner isn’t able to because of work? In this case, you can also get someone else you trust to help you out.
2. Make use of their nap time ‘differently’
Do you find it hard to sleep when your baby is taking a nap? You are unable to fully relax and sleep because you’re worried they’re going to wake you up. If that is the only time you can get more rest, get someone to help watch your baby or toddler while you sleep. As much as napping while your baby does too is ideal, I know it is not always possible.
3. Go to bed early
You’re probably thinking “Valerie😮, how am I supposed to do this?” Or if you’re like me, you’re remembering how much you treasured your evenings before you had your baby. It was really painful for me to let go of my expectation that I will have my evenings to myself. BUT babies are only little for a short time. This won’t be your life forever. Starting tonight, try going to bed early at 6:30 pm or 7 pm.
“What? 7 pm is way too early Valerie. I don’t think I can do it.”
As early as it seems, you will get more sleep from 7 pm to 7 am even if your baby wakes up a thousand times than if you go to bed at 11 pm. This is the easiest and FASTEST way to get you more sleep right now. Remember, first, we have to take care of you so you can be in a better mental space to figure out how to get the best sleep for your baby or toddler. Going to bed earlier tonight is for you to catch up on the Zzzs that you desperately need. That way, we can find a sleep approach for your baby that fits your values.
4. Having help overnight
So the morning doesn’t work or nap time is impossible, why not try overnight? You’re drained from the day and your partner needs to rest for work the next day. Can a friend or a family member help? If those options are not available to you, a familiar and trusted paid helper is an alternative. I understand guilt can creep in at times like this but I need you to remember that it is all to get you feeling human again. A good 4, 5, or 6 straight hours of sleep will do wonders.
5. Set up a separate space
The first sleeping arrangement I will suggest is a separate sleep space for you. It will be a place in your home where you or your partner can go when you’re feeling really tired. In this space, you can catch up on sleep without your baby or toddler waking you. During this time, the other partner will focus on taking care of your baby or toddler at night.
6. Try a different sleeping arrangement
Do you prefer co-sleeping arrangements? If you do then this solution is a good option. There are lots of different ways to co-sleep and your baby or toddler doesn’t always have to be in your bed. Great, right? Between floor beds, sidecar cribs, and bassinets, you have many options. Your child can have their own sleep space and still be close to you. This helps to take away the worry. Also, if you’re breastfeeding, you do not need to get out of bed to feed. Don’t forget, this isn’t forever. It is for you to catch up on necessary snooze and feel better. When you do, you will respond to your baby more with empathy and compassion.
Do you feel more confident now that you can get more sleep?
I know it can be difficult making some of these adjustments because you worry you will have to do this forever and never have a life again – but once you start feeling better, you won’t regret it. And – I promise it is not forever. It’s just to get you what you need urgently, right now.
While you catch up on those needed Zzzs, I know sleep training or the lack of it is still on your mind.
I really want to help you with this because I know the struggle involved with finding solutions that fit your values.
If you’re still asking these questions: do I want to sleep train my baby? What really is my parenting philosophy? Is what I’m doing right now in line with my values? I have a fun quiz you can take that will help you figure these out. The quiz is based on sleep and parenting philosophy. Once you’re done, you will receive a FREE sleep education checklist in your email. This checklist is filled with resources that are aligned with your sleep philosophy.
Would you like to know what a normal infant and toddler sleep should look like? In this free quick guide, you will find that and a lot more information that will help you get amazing sleep.
Let’s keep the conversation going 😃.